August 5, 2021
Elisabeth Shepard, Communications Director
DA Mike Schmidt celebrates one-year in office, prioritizing gun violence and reforms
PORTLAND, Ore. – Last Sunday, August 1, 2021, marked the one-year anniversary of Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s tenure in office.
DA Schmidt was appointed to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office five months earlier than expected in the wake of his predecessor DA Rod Underhill’s early resignation. A little over a week in office, on the 70th day of widespread protests in response to the senseless murder of George Floyd, DA Schmidt issued a protest case policy. The policy protected the free speech rights of protestors while prioritizing prosecution for individuals deliberately damaging property, committing theft, and threatening harm or causing harm to others. The policy remains in place today.
One year later, DA Schmidt continues to focus resources on the crimes with the deepest negative impacts on our community while upholding the will of the 77% of voters who elected him by enacting bold criminal justice reforms in “real-time” through a global pandemic and a historic call for racial justice.
“The movement for Black Lives and the reforms to the criminal justice system our communities called for as a part of that movement were met with responsive, meaningful changes in both the policies and the culture of the District Attorney’s Office since DA Schmidt took office. While the work is far from over, the progress made in the last year has been both deep and meaningful.” Tony Defalco, Executive Director of the Latino Network remarked in response to DA Schmidt’s one-year anniversary in office.
Facing an unprecedented increase in gun violence both in Multnomah County and throughout the nation, DA Schmidt has prioritized the resources of the office to focus on the most serious offenses over low level misdemeanors which have decreased over the last year. This initiative both encompasses increased staff time dedicated towards gun violence and homicide cases and participation in a multi-level government task force where critical information is shared to better inform ongoing investigations into gun violence.
“Historically, our criminal justice system hasn’t addressed the root causes of problems in our community, and the punitive, often racist methods have frequently created new problems and harms, particularly to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. From day one, DA Schmidt has focused on community needs.” Southeast Portland area State Representative Khanh Pham said.
In addition to prioritizing gun violence, DA Schmidt has initiated several reforms centered on restoring, and in many cases building for the very first time, community trust in the criminal justice system, reflecting an upstream approach to improved public safety. These include new investments in police accountability, data transparency and justice integrity.
“I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in the last year. Working to reform our justice system while it’s in operation, through a pandemic and during a historic call for racial justice, has been a balancing act. One year later I’m still on the tightrope. That’s how I know I’m making progress,” District Attorney Mike Schmidt says.
District Attorney Mike Schmidt is available for comment in regards to his one-year anniversary and priorities August 5th and 6th. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an interview or receive a quote.